ERIE, Pa. — The Robert Morris men’s hockey team (5-6-1, 4-3-1 AHC) fired on all cylinders in their 7-1 win against the Mercyhurst Lakers (5-7-2, 3-4-1 AHC) on Saturday. This performance completed a series weekend sweep over the Lakers. During this series, the Colonials outscored Mercyhurst 10-2.
Saturday’s contest started off slow as both teams struggled to get any quality scoring chances early. A Mercyhurst penalty then lit the fuse for the Colonials offense and that fuse did not burn out. Justin Addamo scored 10 seconds into RMU’s first power play of the night, it would be his first goal of the contest.
Nick Lalonde went to the box for Robert Morris for tripping. The Colonials penalty kill did quite well for themselves as Daniel Mantenuto was able to get a breakaway and score. Mantenuto was in the right place at the right time. The puck was passed to the point, and the Mercyhurst player lost control. An already in stride Mantenuto then gained control of the puck and scored on the other end of the ice.
As to be expected with a rivalry game, things became intense. Geoff Lawson was ejected for checking from behind and Mercyhurst’s Tommaso Bucci was promptly ejected for cross-checking. This altercation occurred with just seconds remaining in the second period. From this point forward, the game was plagued with penalties.
Coming out of the first intermission, the Colonials were on the penalty kill. They killed the penalty, another common theme for tonight’s game. The Lakers Brendan Riley was sent to the sin bin for interference shortly after the penalty kill. RMU then moved the puck around well, but could not find the back of the net. Prkusic fired a shot that hit the post, but that was as close as Robert Morris came to a goal during that power-play.
Penalties continued to be a factor as the Colonials found themselves briefly faced with a five on three. Brendan Michaelian and Sean Giles ended up in the box, and the Lakers were gifted with a good chance to cut into the deficit.
Mercyhurst could not capitalize on this great scoring chance though. Goalie Francis Marotte turned away every shot the Lakers fired at him. A big cross-crease save was also followed up by a quick clearing of the puck, which allowed the defense to regroup. Following this, Mercyhurst didn’t come close to scoring again on this power-play.
Despite the penalties, neither team could find the back of the net in the second period. That was until Nick Prkusic scored late in the period. Prkusic made a beautiful move and then put a backhanded shot right into the net.
The Colonials didn’t stop there though as the power play unit once again found the back of the net. Addamo deflected a shot from Eric Israel into the net just a few moments later. This gave RMU a commanding 4-0 lead.
That lead was cut to three just 14 seconds into the final frame. Mercyhurst’s Joshua Lammon flew down the ice and scored right after puck drop. Following this goal, the Lakers continued to fire shots at Marotte and pressure the Colonials. RMU was not phased by the barrage of shots and eventually found themselves on yet another power-play.
For the third time of the evening, the Colonials netted a power-play goal. This one came off the stick of Kip Hoffmann, his first as a Colonial. It capped off an impressive night for their powerplay unit as well.
Things once again became testy in the third period. Brendon Michaelian was checked from behind and was clearly in pain. The referee blew his whistle, obviously calling the play dead. Luke Lynch skated over and confronted Joseph Duszak, the Laker who hit Michaelian. While the two were trading words, Mercyhurst’s Taylor Best skated over and cross-checked Lynch. Best was given a game misconduct and the Colonials were back on the power-play. They would not convert on their chance this time, a rare occurrence for Saturday’s game.
Instead, the Colonials scored another short-handed goal later in the period. Eric Israel passed the puck over to Kyle Horsman who fired a wrist shot into the net. This made it 6-1 RMU. Michael Coyne then added a seventh goal with seconds remaining to make the final score 7-1.
Following the dominant win, Coach Derek Schooley praised his team’s performance this weekend saying, “We wanted to put two strong, dominant game together and obviously we were able to do that.” He also praised the defense for not allowing any goals on the penalty kill.
Furthermore, he had high praises for Francis Marotte saying, “It starts with your goalie, and Francis Marotte was very good in net.” Schooley put a heavy emphasis on the word “very” showing that he was pleased with the veteran goaltender’s outing this weekend.
Robert Morris will look to add their first two-game series sweep by extending the run to a three-game winning streak. They will have that chance next week when they take on Sacred Heart (2-7-2, 2-5-1 AHC). It is a brief road trip as the Colonials will head home the following weekend.